- Stonking performance (aside from HDD)
- Game-worthy graphics
- Nice ergonomics
- Relatively affordable
- No SSD by default (but upgrade instructions provided)
- No keyboard backlighting
- Poor battery life
Review Price £735.00
We’ve been looking at a lot of sleek, slim and light laptops recently, from Ultrabooks like the featherweight Toshiba Portege Z930 to Sleekbooks like the AMD-based HP Envy 6-1006ea. What we haven’t seen much of is large desktop replacement laptops. High time then to check out this 17-inch Samsung Series 5 550P7C, a beast of a portable machine with the specs to match.
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You get goodies like a matt 17.3in screen with a reasonable 1,600 x 900 resolution, JBL speakers with subwoofer, a powerful quad-core Core i7 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, a whopping 1TB of permanent storage, and dedicated Nvidia GT650M graphics to get your game on. A Blu-ray drive completes the entertainment credentials.
Mind you, all this does set you back around £740 (or £840 without the £100 cashback Samsung is currently offering), but that hardly seems excessive for the kind of features on offer.
There’s no denying that this laptop is big and unapologetically bulky at 32mm thick, but no more so than your average 17in desktop replacement. It weighs a considerable 3kg too.
The lid is glossy plastic, but it’s pretty much the best implementation of the stuff we’ve seen. Not only does it genuinely look like perforated metal, but both this finish and a subtle light-refracting ‘rainbow’ effect (like you find on some metals and oil) help to almost completely disguise fingerprints.
The plastic used doesn’t feel like it will scratch easily either. If only Samsung had used a similar finish and quality on its Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet…
On the inside, we have a variety of attractive faux-metal matt plastics that again do an excellent job of disguising their nature. The only disparate element is the black chiclet/isolation keyboard, but overall this laptop looks pretty good.
While 17-inch machines rarely feel as solid as their smaller 15-inch and 13-inch cousins, the Samsung Series 5 550P7C is merely average when it comes to build quality. The lid is just fine, with no more than the necessary flex. However, there’s the occasional hint of creak from the inside panels and a bit more give to the left of the keyboard than we would like.
Even the palm rest suffers from some flex, though the keyboard area is pretty solid. Frankly, it’s not a patch on the superb Samsung Series 7 Chronos.
Connections on the Samsung 550P7C are pretty standard for a large multimedia laptop. On the left you’ll find Gigabit Ethernet, VGA and HDMI for video, twin USB 3.0 ports, plus headphone and microphone jacks.
The front houses the SDXC card reader, while on the right we have a tray-loading Blu-ray drive, twin USB 2.0 ports and the Kensington lock slot. Wireless is handled by the usual Wi-Fi N plus Bluetooth 4.0 combo.